Tadao Chino told a board meeting Tuesday that he will step down as president of the Asian Development Bank on Jan. 31, according to Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki.

The government plans to nominate Haruhiko Kuroda, special adviser to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and former vice finance minister for international affairs, as a candidate to succeed him, Tanigaki said in a statement.

The ADB presidency has traditionally been held by a Japanese national because Japan is the top shareholder in the Manila-based institution. It is almost certain that Kuroda will take up the post.

Chino took the helm of the ADB in January 1999. His current term is scheduled to expire in September 2006.

“I felt that it is the opportune time for me to leave the ADB and to go back to my country, Japan,” Chino said in a message posted on the ADB’s Web site. He said the Asian Development Fund, a major source of financing for the bank’s poorest members, has been replenished.

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